Meet the 2012 Student Diplomat!

Inspiring Videos Highlight Personal Growth and Impact of Study Abroad


This past fall, we asked students to tell a compelling story through video about how they became “student diplomats” while studying abroad by connecting in meaningful ways with people and cultures in other countries and by gaining global skills that will help them with future academic studies and professional careers. Collectively, these study abroad experiences not only improve U.S. economic competitiveness, but also develop global awareness and an ability to work with other nations.

Meet our 2012 Student Diplomat: Ashley Feith

Marymount Manhattan College student Ashley Feith won the 2012 Student Diplomat Video Contest, which includes a $1,000 travel voucher courtesy of STA Travel, a NAFSA Global Partner, by telling her story of learning and personal growth during a study abroad experience in Greece.

“The relationships we make as student diplomats create the bonds that are needed among world citizens…” Feith said. “Understanding the world is no longer just possible, it’s paramount.”

Feith took Greek language classes, studied Balkan conflicts, and interacted with international students at the American College of Thessaloniki. Her time in Greece inspired her to delve into the field of conflict resolution and pursue an international career. After graduating from Marymount Manhattan College in the spring, she plans to explore more of Eastern Europe and is applying for an internship program in the Balkan region.

2012 Student Diplomat Runner-up: Alisha Forbes

The contest’s runner-up is Alisha Forbes, a student at Doane College in Nebraska who studied in Tanzania, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, and South Africa. The kinds of hands-on experiences she had in African communities are vital to global understanding and diplomacy, Forbes said. She believes that if more people – including students and politicians – had these experiences, the impact would be transformative. “We could change the world,” Forbes said.

2012 Finalists

Angela Santilli of California State University, Chico who studied in Ghana
Samantha Costas of Sewanee: The University of the South who studied in Cuba
Glenn Bolich of Kent State University who studied in Italy

About the Contest

The 2012 Student Diplomat Video Contest was open to undergraduate students who studied abroad during the fall semester or had recently returned from a study abroad experience. Throughout the fall, students from across the country showed us through their creative videos how their experiences while studying abroad shaped them as “student diplomats.” After an expert judging panel narrowed down the entries to five finalists in November, we asked the public to vote. More than 2,000 votes were cast and were combined with the votes from the panel of judges to determine the 2012 Student Diplomat. Read the full rules and requirements.

Made Possible By…

Connecting Our World (powered by NAFSA: Association of International Educators), in partnership with STA Travel, a NAFSA Global Partner, hosted the 2012 Student Diplomat Video Contest. Sign up for Connecting Our World alerts to be the first to find out about future contests.